I need to know the story and I need to
know the how the ballet came about in the first place. I want to know what the
original music is like, I’d like to know a bit about the production history. I
need to know all of these things so I’m coming into it with a good understanding
of what’s changed as well as what’s the same. For our Giselle our artistic
parameters are slightly different and actually they’re pushed out further. It’s almost like looking at it with new eyes but we have to have an
understanding of the classical tradition of the story. I had my first
conversation with Tim and he told me what he wanted from the Wilis and the
immigrant men. For the Wilis, the more he spoke to Akram, the more the design
actually changed. So every time we made a prototype, he asked me to take fabric out
of it: there was too much volume so the third time around we got got it right
and then we made all 24 dancers based on the third prototype. The rendering of
the design is quite specific the fabric is disintegrating, it’s rotting off the
body. You can see that they have an ethereal quality to them. Once all the
component bits are together, it’s going to be three to four days per dress, but
we have six people working on them. It starts with making sure you’ve got the
right fabric and then we did a lot of dyeing samples for Tim of taking
lengths of the silk – all of the Wilis are all made of silk on the outside – I’m
taking lengths of this very beautiful silk and doing different treatments to
see what makes it look really old. But actually it has to have a lot of
integrity because it has to last a really really long time and eventually Symone
in the dye shop will work on each one of them and she works on them for hours and hours to make them look old. It really really comes down to the dyer:
she has to spray into them, they have to all be cut at the edge, each edge has to
be frayed so it’s a lot. The most rewarding part of the entire costume making process is seeing the costumes on stage after months and months of hard
work and feeling that everybody from the dancers
to the choreographer to the designer is happy with the product.

Making the costumes of Akram Khan’s Giselle | English National Ballet
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4 thoughts on “Making the costumes of Akram Khan’s Giselle | English National Ballet

  • August 28, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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    Awesome! I am going to try to see this as I have never seen Giselle before! Seeing Manon for the first time soon too and cannot wait! Great that Tim Yip is on the team here too! Very exciting!

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 4:39 pm
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    Amazing costumes. I want to see this ballet so badly. I guess I'll have to go to the UK to see it.

    Reply
  • August 31, 2019 at 7:52 pm
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    I saw this very Giselle in Msc in cinema. Very interesting and extraordinary version 👏👏👏

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 3:07 am
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    Absolutely fascinating!! The costume department must be commended for the countless hours They work on each costume. C💝💝💝

    Reply

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